Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Through a kaleidoscopic array of vintage postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus, and more, we meet and follow Frankie on her journey in search of success and love. Once at Vassar, Frankie crosses paths with intellectuals and writers, among them “Vincent” (alumna Edna St. Vincent Millay), who encourages Frankie to move to Greenwich Village and pursue her writing. When heartbreak finds her in New York, she sets off for Paris aboard the S.S. Mauritania, where she keeps company with two exiled Russian princes and a “spinster adventuress” who is paying her way across the Atlantic with her unused trousseau. In Paris, Frankie takes a garret apartment above Shakespeare & Company, the hub of expat life, only to have a certain ne’er-do-well captain from her past reappear. But when a family crisis compels Frankie to return to her small New England hometown, she finds exactly what she had been looking for all along.
Author of the New York Times Notable Book Jackie by Josie, Caroline Preston pulls from her extraordinary collection of vintage ephemera to create the first-ever scrapbook novel, transporting us back to the vibrant, burgeoning bohemian culture of the 1920s and introducing us to an unforgettable heroine, the spirited, ambitious, and lovely Frankie Pratt. -- Ecco
In the past few months, I have really been trying to accept less pitches for books. I already have a basement full and I just don't seem to be reading at the same pace as last year. However, when I received an email about the new novel THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT: A NOVEL IN PICTURES by Caroline Preston, I couldn't help but jump at the chance. THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT is just that... a full color novel in the form of a scrapbook.I was definitely intrigued by the concept and I was a little curious to see if an actual story could be told entirely in the form of a scrapbook.
And just in case you're wondering, THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT is most certainly a novel; and a very good one at that. This unique book told the story of Frankie's life from her high school years, to her college years, to her time spent in Greenwich Village, to her days in Paris, and then finally to the time she returned home. There were descriptions of Frankie's life as well as the places she lived; and most impressively, Frankie managed to be a very well-developed character. I was actually blown away by the entire reading experience. This is definitely a one-of-a-kind read -- and a must-read at that.
THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT is in one word...amazing! The book really, truly looks like a scrapbook of a young woman's life; and it also does a remarkable job of telling a story. I admit that I wasn't expecting quite as much from this novel. Each and every page of this book has full-color vintage memorabilia in addition to Frankie's journaling entries. I don't know what I appreciated more about this novel --the collection of interesting scrapbook pieces or the story of Frankie's life.
Frankie was just a fabulous character and I felt as if I got to know her extremely well through her scrapbook. She was an ambitious women in the early 1920s; and due to her family's circumstances, she appeared to be trapped in her small hometown rather than being able to attend college. When her mother "finds a way" to get the tuition money (hint: it involves a romantic fling with a questionable character), Frankie heads to Vassar college and experiences a very different life. She meets all types of women, including Edna St. Vincent Millay, and even some interesting young men. She also grows up a lot!
After graduation, Frankie heads to Greenwich Village to try her hand at writing based on "Vincent's" recommendation. She learns just how hard it is to make it in New York City as a young woman in the 1920s, and eventually heads over to Paris on the S.S. Mauritania. She makes a go of it in Paris -- even meeting up again with her first love -- until she has to return home to help take care of her mother. Through all of her adventures, Frankie eventually realizes that home truly is where the heart is! In so many ways, THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT is a very special coming-of-age story.
THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT is one of those books that you could read over and over again. In fact, after I finished it, I went back to the beginning and started skimming all of the images again. I think my first go-through was more about the story of Frankie's very interesting life. While later, I appreciated all of the memorabilia that Ms. Preston managed to arrange so creatively in the book. Reading THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT might have ruined historical fiction for me because it such a fun way to experience learning about past events!
There is no doubt that Ms. Preston spent an incredible amount of time and effort into finding just the right memorabilia, and I was incredibly interested in looking at all of the items. Evidently, she spent a lot of time on ebay! I loved seeing the 1920s advertisements and photographs, but it was just as much fun reading about Frankie's impressions and seeing her thoughts and dreams in her "own handwriting." THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT is a book that will appeal to all types of readers and all age ranges, and I already have a list of people with whom I want to share this novel!
Just check out this video to get a closer look at THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT and tell me that it doesn't look fantastic!
I really can't say enough about THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT. It was an intriguing story with a loveable main character. Plus the format was unlike anything I've ever seen. I absolutely loved it and it's a book that should not be missed!
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this novel.